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How many cups of coffee can a coffee machine make in a day?

Dr Coffee CoffeeZone coffee machine

With the move of staff back to the office post the Covid-19 driven shift to home-based work, we are receiving a lot of requests for office coffee machines.

When we engage with potential customers and share our range, we are constantly asked “how many cups a day can each do?” This really is not a great way to judge a coffee machine and its suitability for your office and here is why.

The first thing to think about is that an automatic bean to cup coffee machine produces a cappuccino in X seconds. That requires some time to grind the beans, to drop the ground coffee in the brew chamber, to infuse it with hot water under pressure, to have the espresso run into the cup and finally, if a milk-based drink, to add the steamed and hot milk. So most will make a cappuccino in 1 to 1.5 minutes, and in an hour, you can get 60/1.5 or 40 cups out of such a machine. In an 8-hour workday, that machine can theoretically do 320 cups. Of course, it can also do that in practise, but if it is not built to actually do that number (with wear resistant parts, cooling systems, high quality seals etc), your machine won’t last many days! It will probably overheat and stop working within a week right? So put the theory aside,look at the practical delivery and start thinking about what else impacts the ability of the machine and which machine is best suited to your needs.

To begin with, let me introduce the concept of “fit for purpose.” As we see from the above example, a bean to cup coffee machine can deliver 320 cups of coffee a day in theory. So that means any average coffee machine you buy will deliver this quantity. However, it may not be “fit for purpose” and here is why.

First, machines are made differently and built to last for different periods of time. A metal brewing unit will usually last longer than a plastic brew unit and certainly the gears and moving parts that come under strain when compressing the ground coffee and when adding nine bars of pressure, will fail earlier if made of plastic.

So a small domestic automatic coffee machine like a De Longhi, is not built for 320 cups a day 22 days a month and will breakdown before a more commercial model like the Dr Coffee Coffeezone coffee machine. That is no fault of De Longhi, Siemens, Bosch, or any other manufacturer of small home machines, it is just that their life span is designed to be say three cups a day for 30 days a month and for around 3 years. Their 3000-cup lifespan would be used up in 10 months if placed in a busy office serving 320 cups a day and you would be forever having parts replaced!

No, the domestic machine is indeed best suited for low volume sites.

Secondly, a small domestic machine is not fit for a busy office environment because it will not come with the option to plumb it into mains water. Instead, it is 1l water tank will need to be filled constantly – around every four cups. Can you imagine how much inconvenience that would cause in a large office! Then at 16g of coffee a cup, and a 200g bean hopper capacity, you would be filling it with beans every fifteen cups. Great for home, but not an office.

So capacity for water and beans, and dare I add, the used coffee pucks, between fill and clean events, is where you want to be looking, and not cup per day statistics.

The C12 Dr Coffee coffee machine for small offices and homesThe “fit for purpose” small office coffee machines start with a 4l water tank and a 250g bean hopper. Now at 250ml a cup of water for coffee and steam making, you are up to sixteen cups of coffee between water tank refills. On the coffee bean side, 250g of beans will give you…well… sixteen cups! In addition, the waste tray will hold sixteen used coffee pucks and now you have a benchmark that says every sixteen cups I need to refill and clean it. If you only want to do that twice a day, say in the morning on arrival and at lunch time, you know you can produce thirty-two cups a day quite comfortably. In a 10–15-person office, the Dr Coffee C12 coffee machine would be the perfect machine. It would not be the perfect machine in a 30-person office drinking three cups each a day because at 90 cups a day, you would be filling and cleaning it six times a day… who needs that?

Dr Coffee Coffeebreak coffee machine for use in officesSo now you would look for a machine with an 8l water tank and a 500g bean hopper. That would give thirty-two coffees per fill and need a fill and clean three times a day. If you opted for a Dr Coffee Coffeebreak coffee machine with plumbed in water (or connected to a 20l water barrel) and a 1kg bean hopper, you would never have to fill the water tank, only fill the bean hopper once a day and empty the waste trays three times a day.

This becomes a much better measure of how fit for purpose a coffee machine is than how many cups it theoretically can do a day.

We always offer to look at a potential client’s situation because it does not end there. The final factor to consider is usage rate. By that I mean the pressure on a machine over time. If your company has a defined tea/coffee break, like in a production facility, you are going to have a lot of staff seeking coffee at once. That is going to become an issue because even the best machines will only deliver thirty cappuccinos in 30 minutes… and if you have ninety staff depending on a machine, some are going back to the production floor thirsty and frustrated! Here you will need to install three Dr Coffee Coffeebreak machines. However, in an office where people arrive at the machine at irregular intervals, a single machine will suffice. The worst case is that 2 or 3 people arrive at the same time and there is a 2-minute wait, but even then, a few minutes to chat is not a terrible thing either.

So move away from thinking about “how many cups a day can a machine can make’ in deciding on one that is fit for your office, factory, reception area etc. Start thinking about the factors that make it “fit for your purpose.” You will end up with less maintenance downtime, happy staff and customers, and less hassle in keeping it full of water and beans. Have a look at our office coffee machines here.

Simply ask us to walk you through the options and you will see what makes the most sense … but asking “how many cups a day each machine can do?”… will not!

 

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